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Wikipedia Threatens Artists For Fair Use

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the ought-to-know-better dept.

Censorship 235

Hugh Pickens writes "Can a noncommercial website use the trademark of the entity it critiques in its domain name? Surprisingly, it appears that the usually open-minded folks at Wikipedia think not. The EFF reports that Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern have created a noncommercial website at Wikipediaart.org intended to comment on the nature of art and Wikipedia. Since 'Wikipedia' is a trademark owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, the Foundation has demanded that the artists give up the domain name peaceably or it will attempt to take it by legal force. 'Wikipedia should know better. There is no trademark or cybersquatting issue here,' writes the EFF's Corynne McSherry. 'Moreover, even if US trademark laws somehow reached this noncommercial activity, the artists' use of the mark is an obvious fair use.' It is hard to see what Wikipedia gains by litigating this matter, but easy to see how they lose."

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Lock (5, Funny)

Ragein (901507) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700411)

Load and aim at foot

Re:Lock (5, Insightful)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701081)

I don't think that's fair. A trademark, as we should all know, must be defended where it's use could be considered infringing. Use of the trademark to identify the service in question is perfectly acceptable, as in wikipediasucks.com. However, the cited domain, wikipediaart.org could quite easily be taken to be affiliated to Wikipedia, particularly since the site is running a Mediawiki install. I can't say I blame them for going after this, though I hope they don't overkill it.

Re:How this hurts wikipedia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27701129)

It hurts wikipedia how? I can't really figure this out actually. Sure, it looks bad. Sure, it's not good for them to act in such an uncouth manner. When you google trichinosis (and lots of other specialized terms) wikipedia is the first link to come up and is still the one you are going to hit.

Re:How this hurts wikipedia... (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701289)

It doesn't hurt them until it hurts them, and who's going to supervise this? Wikipedia? Well son, labour has a price. Why should wikipedia spend money to ensure that a 3rd party aren't using their trademark improperly?

Re:Lock (3, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701177)

Not really. This is simply an action taken by the foundation to control any content related to their name, and trademark. We've seen this before, Mozilla vs. Debian was the latest "fight". It's important to understand the differences between brand and content. Whatever content I have associated to my brand is also my responsibility. If the content inside my brand is open for everybody to use, distribute, modify etc. it doesn't mean that one can distribute it in the name of my brand.

Let's say I write a short story, signed by me as the author, and give you a copy. I tell you that you're allowed to do whatever you want with the contents of this short story, be it reading, modifying, redistributing. Would it then be ok for you to change the contents, impose as me and redistribute it? No, of course not. So you see, these two don't go hand in hand. Even if I give you complete ownership over a piece of my property, it doesn't mean you can impose as me, be it with or without regards to this piece of property.

Now I have to ask, is this really so hard to understand? I'm asking because trademark issues are boring as hell and it seems that the only reason they're brought to attention is that people don't understand the simple difference mentioned above.

Re:Lock (3, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701477)

No, it is not simply an action taken by the foundation. It's a classic case of wikidickery. Some unknown artists create a page, call it wikipediart, throw some bullshit self referential art criticism nonsense up on it, and sit back waiting for the shit to hit the fan. They KNOW that wikipedia is chock full of nuts who will come gunning for them and their fake page. THAT is that performance art they were aiming for. So the page gets deleted, as they knew it would, and they set up a site infringing on wikipedia's trademark. They KNOW that the foundation has to protect their trademark, and they will get more free publicity for their 'art.'

These guys aren't artists, they are pretentious tools. Screwing with other people to get some free publicity isn't art. But the fine folks at wikipedia are pretentious tools too, so this whole thing is just a big dick-fight.

Bad name (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700419)

Am I the only one to think that Wikipediaart looks Dutch? Probably the double A.

Re:Bad name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700955)

Am I the only one to think that Wikipediaart looks Dutch?

YES.

and also, first post FAIL

Re:Bad name (1)

Woek (161635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701235)

Actually: NO; I thought the same thing...

Re:Bad name (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701483)

That would be a first post fail if it said anything vaguely similar to "first post". Accusation fail?

Apple Art ? Microsoft Art ? Bank of America Art? (3, Insightful)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700445)

Of course this is confusing and abusing the trademark.

Does anyone think he would get away with creating "CryslerArt.com" ?

WikipediaArt.org is not different.

Re:Apple Art ? Microsoft Art ? Bank of America Art (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700497)

Does anyone think he would get away with creating "CryslerArt.com" ?

I don't see why not. "ChryslerArt.com" might be a little more problematic.

Re:Apple Art ? Microsoft Art ? Bank of America Art (5, Funny)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700919)

"ChryslerArt.com" might be a little more problematic.

Yeah, it's quite fraudulent to call anything by Chrysler "art".

Okay, okay, maybe the foresight in scamming pensioners...

Re:Apple Art ? Microsoft Art ? Bank of America Art (4, Interesting)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700503)

Something more in tune with the Slashdot world: http://www.microsoftsucks.org/ [microsoftsucks.org] , and also: http://applesucks.org/ [applesucks.org]

Re:Apple Art ? Microsoft Art ? Bank of America Art (4, Insightful)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701101)

When I saw the summary title, I immediately thought of paypalsucks.com. However, this is different. Nobody would think that paypalsucks.com was run by Paypal (*), and it is a commentary on paypal, so it is not infringing trademark. Wikipediaart.org sounds like something run by Wikipedia.

* Interestingly, googlesucks.com is owned by Google. They took the domain name to dampen criticism visibility. See: googlesux.com

Re:Apple Art ? Microsoft Art ? Bank of America Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27701393)

considering that the so-called "criticism" on the website you linked is pants-on-head-retarded, I can't blame them.

Re:Apple Art ? Microsoft Art ? Bank of America Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700951)

Exactly, for a public organization like Wikipeia you gotta stick up for your stuff or have snarky clever lawyers co-opt it out from under you. They're "non-commercial" so lots of businesses see that as fair game.

Imagine MS Wikipedia, Gwikipedia, iWikipediaPod, Rollerblade Wikipedia.... get the idea.

Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (5, Insightful)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700463)

Am I the only one who laughed after reading this?

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700575)

Nope.

Let's see - an Encyclopedia done as a Wiki....

I know Wikipedia..

Let's see - a website to discuss art on/around Wikipedia...

I know Wikipediaart..

each *name* an extension of the previous... /sigh

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (2, Insightful)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700747)

Is "Wiki" a trademark?

No.

Is "Encyclopedia" a trademark?

No.

Is Wikipedia a trademark?

Yes.

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700593)

Yes. The rest of us (over 6 Billion, last I counted) are all serious and never laugh.

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700621)

Am I the only one who laughed after reading this?

Disclaimer: I have an account on Wikipedia by the same name as my Slashdot username and have contributed fair use music clips.

You may be able to point to Wikipedia not being open-minded. From the purging of webcomics [slashdot.org] to being attacked by the co-founder [slashdot.org] , you may be able to point to things they've done that seem really really controlling and closed minded.

But look at what they've done and accomplished. Look at how they've come under attack themselves for fair use or having 1/5 of the world's population blocked from you [slashdot.org] .

They have established a totally free online encyclopedia. No ads. They have had to balance quality with quantity. They have established rules that define what is encyclopedic. I would wager that in the past year they are more linked to than any other domain on Slashdot. Their Google rankings reflect this.

If you are criticizing them because they are not as free and open as Richard Stallman, fine. But know that I have downloaded their articles and put them into a MySQL database at home and you are free to access them online and use them as an invaluable resource. Would they have been as successful if they had taken a more open and free stance? They walk a fine line between their control and community control and I think they've done a fine job with their success as evidence.

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (-1, Troll)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700731)

They have had to balance quality with quantity.

They peddle information. Quality matters more.

They have established rules that define what is encyclopedic.

For 14 year-olds who have never set foot inside a library, maybe. These "rules" were established way before Jimbo Wales ever plugged in a modem by organizations that actually adhere to them.

I would wager that in the past year they are more linked to than any other domain on Slashdot. Their Google rankings reflect this.

Wait, you think that Google rankings are based on actual pageviews? okaaay...

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700841)

No, eldavojohn thinks that one of the variables in Google's page rank algorithm is the number of links to the page, which is correct. However, links on Slashdot are tagged with "nofollow", so they probably aren't included in the algorithm.

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700997)

I would wager that in the past year they are more linked to than any other domain on Slashdot. Their Google rankings reflect this.

Wait, you think that Google rankings are based on actual pageviews? okaaay...

No, it's based on how many other web sites link to them. Establishing a link to Wikipedia is like an internet "vote", and their system does eliminate self-reinforcement networks (ballot stuffers).

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (2)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700897)

Personally, I think Stallman exaggerates; that is not the issue.

Regardless of what wikipedia has accomplished, both the people in the foundation and many of its high-ranked users are anything but open-minded. And, though I do not have a wikipedia account, I say this as a frequent visitor (at least once a day) who *loves* wikipedia. I'm just sorry about many things I regularly see when browsing through it and some things I hear about it.

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700921)

They have established a totally free online encyclopedia. No ads. They have had to balance quality with quantity. They have established rules that define what is encyclopedic.

I look at Wikipedia's failings more in wonder than in anger. They gave us one of the most valuable sites in the web for free, that's true, and we should be grateful for that. But then they go and shoot themselves in the foot.

What I have tried to do about this is to bring my contribution in a positive way. Whenever I see something that strikes me as being too pedantic at Wikipedia I try to correct it, often with good results. I have removed several of those ridiculous warning boxes from their articles, and, more often than not, no one put the boxes back.

Take, for instance, an article about a fiction novel or short story. The best reference about that, the book where it was first published, is cited in the references. How does that article lack references? Or boxes complaining that in some way the article is not written in a style suited for an encyclopedia. Well, if you think so, do us a favor, stop complaining and *show* how it should be written.

Re:Open-minded folks in USSR? (4, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701237)

Disclaimer: I am a 1950s socialist and have debated and contributed towards Maxist theory.

You may be able to point to the Soviet Union not being open-minded. From the purging of Citizens [wikipedia.org] to being denounced by the co-founder [wikipedia.org] , you may be able to point to things they've done that seem really really controlling and closed minded.

But look at what they've done and accomplished. Look at how they've come under attack themselves [wikipedia.org] for their ideals or having over 1/2 of the world's population blocked from you [wikipedia.org] .

They have established a totally classless society. No inequality. They have had to balance quality with quantity. They have established rules that define what socialist. I would wager that in the past year they are more talked about than any other country in this publication. Their power of veto [wikipedia.org] in the UN reflect this.

If you are criticizing them because they are not as free and open as the West, fine. But know that I have access to a free public health care, education, transport and many other systems, to use them as an invaluable resource. Would the USSR have been as successful if they had taken a more open and free stance? They walk a fine line between their control and community control and I think they've done a fine job with their success as evidence.

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27701223)

lolwut? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Open-minded folks at Wikipedia? (3, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701375)

Nope. Wikipedia became -- as I perfectly predicted -- a horrible joke of itself.

"Everyone can edit" is dead and gone forever. A ruling class has established. And they are controlling Wikipedia reality and laws now. Getting in gets harder and harder, as more and more entry rules and hierarchy levels get implemented.

I wonder if anyone ever really believed that it would "just work" with giving access to everyone. I mean, sure, we all had a strong wishful thinking syndrome. I quite possibly was one of Wikipedia's strongest defenders. But I soon realize how stupid and ridiculous it really is.
I mean what other community allows anyone to anonymously write whatever he thinks he's right? 4chan. We should have looked at how that turned out.^^

Interestingly (or not so interestingly), it went the same way that every other organizational system goes. The bigger it gets, the more the opinions differ.
But nobody is wrong, because on many many subjects, it is either impossible to determine the physical truth, or the whole thing is just relative to the person, which is a basic law of physics, that is somehow completely ignored at Wikipedia.

My best shot at fixing this, would implement the possibility for an infinite cascading views [like CSS cascading rules are creating the final layout] for one article, and reality-relationship models, where you could choose who to trust on what subjects (also in a cascading manner [again, like CSS rules]).
So I could perhaps choose "Jon Steward" as my basis, extend with some scientists that i know, and add an overlay of what a friend thinks about the politics in his country, to form my view of Wikipedia.

Now this may sound like the reality distortion of Fox. But in reality, you will not change what someone thinks, when he does not trust you. And my method is a software model of this.
And there really are things, where two completely opposite views are rightfully true for both people. Nobody has the right to censor or dominate those views.
And, hell, why not. My philosophy is, that everybody can think whatever he likes to think. As long as he does not hurt me (directly or indirectly [eg. by hurting friends]). No matter how crazy he is. Wouldn't I be the oppressor for not allowing him to think that way? If he's all by himself... so what? Let him be, if he's happy that way. :)

What a shame (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700489)

Wikipedia seemed to be the ultimate spot on the Internet for free thought and the sharing of ideas. Are they really so worried about public image that they cannot stand to a little criticism on their model?

Re:What a shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700527)

free thought and the sharing of ideas? In theory. Reality is, some editors keep their pages locked up tighter than a virgin's pussy.

Re:What a shame (2, Interesting)

cnvandev (1538055) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700735)

Wikipedia seemed to be the ultimate spot on the Internet for free thought and the sharing of ideas.

I'd say the sharing of ideas doesn't seem like it has much to do with Wikipedia, it's just trying to explain what everything is for the uninformed. Sharing ideas is for places like YouTube, where people *do* share them...every idea that comes into their head, no matter how inane.

Honestly, after reading TFA, it seems like this is a Flying Spaghetti Monster or Church of the SubGenius kind of case. The whole thing exists to throw a problem into sharp relief...it's not an "Art Project" so much as a method of arguing, trying to rally support for an issue by calling their side of the arugument something normally protected, like Art or a Religion. I'm all for what they're arguing, but I really don't know why they act all surprised when someone calls their bluff or tries to dismiss the tactic.

Re:What a shame (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701181)

After having tried to be a contributor for a while I can tell you they are not. there are some powerful groups with admins and even ARBCOM members in their pockets that rule game to keep subtle but damaging biases in various articles - via the exclusion of information.

"that source isn't credible." - them
"it's a peer reviewed scientific journal!" - us
"my statement stands"

Re:What a shame (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701285)

Sounds like wheels inside wheels, but I'm not really surprised.

Wikipedia's Perspective (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700493)

iI is hard to see what Wikipedia gains by litigating this matter but easy to see how they lose.

It is easy to see how they lose if they don't defend it also.

Ok, not to defend them but just to get you thinking about their perspective, they are attempting to protect their name. Not profits or anything really evil, just their name.

What would you say if I wrote a mischievous program and hosted it at iwikipedia.org? Wouldn't you want them to be able to go after me and shut me down?

Ok, so that's an extreme case ... now imagine I use that same domain to host a mirror of Wikipedia.org and push to steal their market share. I advertise and insert tiny little advertisements and I am commercial. And suddenly the good folks at Wikipedia are out of luck. Wouldn't you want them to be able to protect that which they've established?

So for malicious intent or even just to protect what they've created, I think they should be able to sue wikipediaart.org but I would hope they could just ask them to change the name to wikiartrights.org or artonwikis.org?

They probably would qualify for fair use if the site wasn't a wikimedia site. In this case, Wikipedia is concerned about people misunderstanding that the site is hosted and part of the wikipedia suite (or commons or whatever they call it). I think they would have no problem with the name if it had a different layout/format or if the name was different and it looked just like that. I don't know how this qualifies as fair use and Wikipedia may have a point in their fear that people would misunderstand the site.

Re:Wikipedia's Perspective (5, Informative)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700671)

Ok, not to defend them but just to get you thinking about their perspective, they are attempting to protect their name. Not profits or anything really evil, just their name.

What would you say if I wrote a mischievous program and hosted it at iwikipedia.org? Wouldn't you want them to be able to go after me and shut me down?

Actually, your second paragraph isn't even necessary. If I understand Trademark law correctly, either they actively defend their trademark, or they lose it altogether.

Re:Wikipedia's Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27701265)

Does defending a trademark have to involve demanding that other people dont use it? Is writing up a license so that the infringer is ok to use trademark a valid defense?

Re:Wikipedia's Perspective (4, Informative)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701317)

Still they can take the same approach as Linden Labs did (in case of "firstlife" parody site, which used their logo): send a "Permit and proceed letter" - a one-time non-transferable free license to use the "infringing" trademarks.

By "protecting" the law means only "don't infringements leave unattended". Not "don't let anyone else use it, ever".

EFF Versus Wikipedia?!?! On Slashdot?!!! (4, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700499)

Man oh man, does it get any better than this? I'm gonna go pop some corn...

Re:EFF Versus Wikipedia?!?! On Slashdot?!!! (2, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700631)

Oh wait till you hear this, I heard that RMS would be singing during half-time.

Re:EFF Versus Wikipedia?!?! On Slashdot?!!! (2, Funny)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701303)

Just as long as there's no danger of wardrobe malfunction...

Re:EFF Versus Wikipedia?!?! On Slashdot?!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700995)

Damn, that was a +10billion Insightful+Funny

It does seem like trademark and cybersquatting! (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700501)

With the full understanding that this is for a court to decide, the domain name in this case is too similar. Regardless of any one-line disclaimer about not being affiliated with Wikipedia, it still seems too much like it would be an art website operated by Wikipedia. If you accept that PETA.org should belong to the PETA that puts naked chicks in cages on the street and not the PETA that goes through a lot of barbecue sauce (which a lot of people don't) then you have to accept that this domain name is confusing. A domain like "wikipediasucks.com" would make it clear that it was commentary about wikipedia. A domain like "Wikipediaart" makes it look too much like art affiliated with Wikipedia. Your whole front page would have to be a disclaimer given the average human -- I could see easily misinterpreting the top sentence in the pre-coffee boost phase and deciding that they WERE affiliated.

Re:It does seem like trademark and cybersquatting! (5, Funny)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700587)

the PETA that puts naked chicks in cages on the street

WHERE!? Where does this happen and how do I get there!?

Re:It does seem like trademark and cybersquatting! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700659)

Step 1: Go outside
Step 2: Head to your local...awe who am I kidding, nobody on /. would make it past step 1.

Re:It does seem like trademark and cybersquatting! (1)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700961)

What about Best of Youtube" [bestofyoutube.com] Does that step on YouTube's trademark?

I think that it's pretty silly. As long as it's clearly put on the front page that it's not associated with Wikipedia, then Wikipedia Art is fine.

Re:It does seem like trademark and cybersquatting! (3, Informative)

Rary (566291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701259)

What about Best of Youtube" [bestofyoutube.com] Does that step on YouTube's trademark?

No, because it's clearly using the "YouTube" name to refer to the real "YouTube". This is considered fair use.

In the Wikipedia Art situation, the EFF is arguing that they're using the "Wikipedia" name to refer to the real "Wikipedia". However, that's not really clear from the name. "Wikipedia Art" sounds to me like it's actually a sub-site of Wikipedia, rather than a site about Wikipedia. It's a bit ambiguous, and that's the problem.

Fair use is a bit of a stretch. (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700545)

Okay. it looks like Wikipedia. The name is similar to Wikipedia. It's not obvious that it's criticism. Even the content appears to be more transformative than critical.

No problem with what they're doing but make it more obvious that this isn't part of Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Is Rotten (1, Flamebait)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700557)

Wikipedia Is Rotten From the Top to the Bottom.

Like all rots, Wikipedia's started at the top. "Jimbo" Wales is manifestly unable to run such an important organisation. The rampant and crippling deletionism, bureaucracy, cliques, misinformation, disinformation, bias, political games, scandals, corruption and more can all be traced back to Wales. His inability and indeed, unwillingness to properly manage the site and the problems that face it have led, inevitably to the Wikipedia we have today, and will surely lead to even further degeneration. Under his watch, it has been the most duplicitous and mean spirited individuals who have risen to prominence, while the better part of its membership has left in disgust.

Wikipedia is now making forays into copyright and trademark infringement threats to bully its offsite opponents. They have to; The logic of their position demands it. If ever anything went against the spirit of copyleft and the creative commons, this is it. The Wikipedia crowd is now utterly corrupt and in no way resembles any other open source community. It is closed minded, hostile to change, riddled with bureaucracy, hostile to outsiders and new members, and now is turning its back on the very principles on which it was founded.

Wikipedia has changed. It is rotten. The altruism and goodwill of the millions who edited is ebbing away as the site stabilizes. Soon there will not be enough to stem the tide of contempt that the Wikipedians have for anyone who disagrees with them. The change has been gradual, but concrete. The goodwill party is over. Wikipedia is about to graduate, and a smiling altruistic an open encyclopedia is not what will result.

Wikipedia Is Rotten From the Top to the Bottom.

Re:Wikipedia Is Rotten (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700701)

While for the most part I agree, it's the rampant inclusionism that is a bigger problem.

Re:Wikipedia Is Rotten (1)

nicklott (533496) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700931)

Why? Who cares if webcomic X gets its own 2 line wikipedia page? It doesn't cost anything (except a trivial amount of disk space) and no one has to look at it if they don't want to. The idea of wikipedia being a rival to Britannica et al should be left behind: while editing is open to all no one can treat it as definitive and frankly I doubt anyone does. Wikipedia is "good enough". It's 95% there, but that extra 5% will take a hell of a lot of effort and come at a cost that many would find unnacceptable. Just accept that it is what it is and enjoy it, stop striving for something unobtainable and frankly undesirable.

Re:Wikipedia Is Rotten (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27701021)

[citation needed]

Re:Wikipedia Is Rotten (3, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701243)

First of all, to be clear, Wikipedia is not the same as the Wikimedia Foundation. The Foundation owns the trademark and the servers but has essentially nothing to do with the day-to-day operations of the English Wikipedia or any of the other Wikipedias or associated projects.

Much of what you have said is inaccurate or missing context. The primary reasons that Wikipedia looks like such a drama magnet is that a) there's a high degree of transparency so the normal internal jockeying and juvenile behavior is there for all to see b) many people have sincere ideas about what the project should do. People can legitimately and strongly disagree. Wikipedia does have some very serious problems, but one shouldn't overestimate them. The vast majority of editors get along just fine every day just plugging along. I suspect you'd find if you did a survey that even many admins aren't aware of the historical major scandals and drama sources such as the Essjay scandal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essjay_controversy [wikipedia.org] )

Now, in regard to deletionism, I'm a user who has been labeled as a "hyperinclusionist" on at least one occasion and I think you are being unfair. Deletionism has legitimate arguments behind it. First, having many articles makes it difficult to navigate. See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John [wikipedia.org] or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith [wikipedia.org] and then imagine how worse those pages would be if we included every little person. Second, Wikipedia is not intended as a free webhost. Those exist all over the internet. So even a die-hard inclusionist must agree that some inclusion criteria are necessary. Third, the more content we have (especially of obscure topics that few people care about or edit) the more potential for vandalism or insertion of libelous content which is really not good.

I don't have any strong opinion on the issue about the trademark in question (I haven't had time to look at the matter in great detail) but to connect this to alleged problems at Wikipedia is simply not helpful.

Wikia (1)

christurkel (520220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700571)

Yet the Wikipedia didn't bat an eyelash when Jimbo started Wikia using 'wiki' in the name. Double standard.

Re:Wikia (5, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700645)

Yet the Wikipedia didn't bat an eyelash when Jimbo started Wikia using 'wiki' in the name. Double standard.

In case you didn't know, "wiki" is a word that wikipedia borrowed from elsewhere, i.e. "WikiWikiWeb", aka "WardsWiki", which is available at http://c2.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl [c2.com] . So no, this isn't a double standard.

Besides, there are no rules against the same organisation using the same trademark in two different ways, so even if the word "wiki" was a Wikimedia invention, it wouldn't be a problem that they operated two different sites that had it in their names.

Re:Wikia (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700661)

Yet the Wikipedia didn't bat an eyelash when Jimbo started Wikia using 'wiki' in the name. Double standard.

Wikipedia didn't invent the term "wiki".

Re:Wikia (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700663)

Anything can have "wiki" in its name, here that's different, Wikipedia only refers to one possible very specific thing. It's like the difference between "Encyclopaedia" and "Encyclopaedia Britannica"

fair use? (1, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700581)

The term 'fair use' refers to a doctrine of defense against copyright infringement, not trademark infringement. And while the courts have routinely said that names like "walmartsucks" and "dontbuyverizon" are clearly not going to create confusion in the marketplace, a name like "wikipediaart" just does not seem clear-- is it associated or not? The design of the front page may or may not help the defense on that question.

Re:fair use? (2, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700767)

Fair use is a term of art in trademark law as well.

Since this is about wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use_(U.S._trademark_law) [wikipedia.org]

Or if you don't like wikipedia...

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/15/1115.html [cornell.edu]

b(4) is the section that is referred to as "fair use" by the Supreme Court in rulings.

Re:fair use? (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701221)

The term "fair use" is used in trademark law as well. But I do somewhat agree with your second point. The name they've chosen does seem to suggest an extension of Wikipedia more than a critique of Wikipedia. The main page of the site plainly explains that they are not connected to Wikipedia, but that doesn't change the implication of the name, which is the only thing the Wikipedia folks are going after.

MonsterWiki!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700591)

MonsterWiki
MonsterPedia
WikiMonster

Y'all gonna get sued!

Re:MonsterWiki!!!! (1)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700699)

Why would they be sued? None of them (ab)use the trademark "Wikipedia". Or are you one of the people who think that "Wiki" is short for "Wikipedia"?

Defend it or lose it (5, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700595)

Quoth Wikipedia itself [wikipedia.org] :

A trademark typically becomes "genericized" when the products or services with which it is associated have acquired substantial market dominance or mind share. The term is legally significant in that unless a company works sufficiently to prevent such broad use of its trademark, its intellectual property rights in the trademark may be lost.

IANAL but, as I understand it, if Wikipedia are too free and easy about defending their trademark they won't have a leg to stand on when "Wikipedia Britannica" or "Microsoft Wikipedia" appear.

Re:Defend it or lose it (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700739)

IANAL but, as I understand it, if Wikipedia are too free and easy about defending their trademark they won't have a leg to stand on when "Wikipedia Britannica" or "Microsoft Wikipedia" appear.

As I understand it, whether a trademark can be protected is decided on a per-market-segment basis.

Therefore, if Wikimedia don't defend their trademark in this case, then in future they run the risk that they won't be able to defend it against other art projects. I don't see how this is a particularly bad outcome for them.

What they do have to clamp down on is anyone selling encyclopediae with their name. I'd extend that to any form of reference book, web site, or other media, so that nobody can release (e.g.) the "wikipedia dictionary" and get away with it.

Re:Defend it or lose it (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701283)

As I understand it, whether a trademark can be protected is decided on a per-market-segment basis.

That's fine if there are two well defined market segments (say, minced cow products vs. tartan kilts) but it didn't exactly keep the lawyers hungry in Apple Corp vs. Apple Computer :-)

Therefore, if Wikimedia don't defend their trademark in this case, then in future they run the risk that they won't be able to defend it against other art projects.

Wikipedia has stuff about art [wikipedia.org] .

Even if this ends up in a ruling that "Wikipedia Art" was OK because it was the name of a specific work of art rather than an online information resource, Wikipedia will have defended their trademark and drawn their line in the sand.

Weird little gem hidden in TFA (1, Interesting)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700605)

History of Wikipedia Art completely erased from Wikipedia. Despite more than 2 dozen edits to the page, there is absolutely no record of its text, anywhere on the site.

Now is it just me or does it sound like there's more to this story than simply protection of a trademark? Why would the Wikipedia people permenantly erase a wiki page that seems legit? There's more evidence of deletions too...

Re:Weird little gem hidden in TFA (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701313)

Wikipedia 451

Someone should start a wiki to track deletions from wikipedia..

Re:Weird little gem hidden in TFA (2, Interesting)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701343)

Why would the Wikipedia people permenantly erase a wiki page that seems legit?

Probably because someone was trying to use Wikipedia as a free webhost for their art project...? Pages that don't have anything to do with Wikipedia's mission - which is creating an encyclopedia, full stop - regularly get deleted.

The page in question wasn't an encyclopedia article, it was a "conceptual art work composed on Wikipedia". Some artist(s) had a clever idea that used Wikipedia's resources, Wikipedia decided that they weren't in the business of creating art, the art project got the boot.

If you're looking for the relevant Wikipedia policy, try

Deletion policy [wikipedia.org]

Criteria for speedy deletion [wikipedia.org]

What Wikipedia is not [wikipedia.org]

It ain't rocket science, and it doesn't need a conspiracy to explain. Since the operators of Wikipedia Art are running their own wiki using the same software, it's a tad disingenuous for them to 'play dumb' about where the page went.

Finally, it's not gone without a trace. Wikipedia 'administrators' (really more janitors than powerful functionaries) have access to most deleted pages, and anyone can see the entry in the page deletion log [wikipedia.org] .

One-line explanation of Wikipedia's behavior. (5, Insightful)

Eevee (535658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700607)

It's better to have a judge rule "it's fair use" now than have a judge rule "you didn't defend your trademark" five years from now.

Re:One-line explanation of Wikipedia's behavior. (2, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700823)

I've heard this on Slashdot, but I read otherwise (ironically, on Wikipedia)

Wikipedia: Trademark rights [wikipedia.org]

It is not necessary for a trademark owner to take enforcement action against all infringement if it can be shown that the owner perceived the infringement to be minor and inconsequential.

Seems like a letter stating the above would be sufficient.

would (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700641)

www.definitelynotassociatedwithwikipediadotorginanywayatallhonest.org be ok?

Re:would (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700703)

Fine, but I get to register www.definitelynotassociatedwithwikipediadotorginanywayatallhonestart.org.

Well (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700669)

Although I don't necessarily agree with Wikimedia's heavy-handedness here, the "wikipediaart" project seems like some weird attempt do use Wikipedia to do something which is not what Wikipedia is for. It is not a commentary on Wikipedia itself. Wikipedia doesn't exist so it can be used as a person's playground or for their pet projects. The "project" itself existed only as a Wikipedia page in essence, and was some sort of attempt at self-referential art from what I can gather - thus being inadmissible for its medium per their own rules!

Re:Well (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701291)

Wikipedia DOES exist so it can be used as a person's playground and for their pet projects. It's just that none of the people behind wikipediaart are that person.

Wikipedia Review? (3, Insightful)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700679)

Why has the WMF gone after WikipediaArt but not Wikipedia Review [wikipediareview.com] or Wikipedia Watch [wikipedia-watch.org] ? These two websites have been notorious for "outing" the real identities of editors and encouraging vote-stacking etc.

Re:Wikipedia Review? (5, Interesting)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701369)

Because its obvious that those two websites pertain to Wikipedia, but are not Wikipedia, and as such they're completely legit.

Be honest now. If you see "Wikipedia Art," don't you think that's an Art site owned/run by the folks behind Wikipedia? Is this any different than "BBC Art" or "Encyclopedia Britannica Art"? Yet you'd never make that assumption over "Wikipedia Sucks" or other similar sites... which is why they're different cases.

Ubuntu people are the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700687)

The Ubuntu people are the same, if not worse (by this I refer to Canonical). They protect their trademarks aggressively. They stop websites, or spin off projects, unless they're strictly non-profit (this includes advertising).

Trademarking is not usually discussed in the same breath as those old warhorses of copyright and patenting, but it can be just as dangerous as any kind of IP protection.

the Ubuntu people are worse (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700819)

"The Ubuntu people are the same, if not worse (by this I refer to Canonical). They protect their trademarks aggressively. They stop websites, or spin off projects, unless they're strictly non-profit (this includes advertising)" Where, can you provide a list of citations where Canonical caused web sites or spin off projects to be canceled.

you may use the Trademarks [ubuntu.com] in association with the software product provided:

* the changes are minimal and unsubstantial, as described above ..

* there is no commercial intent associated with the new product ..

* the Trademark is used in a way that makes it clear that your project is a development effort related to the Ubuntu source, but that the software you are working upon is not in fact Ubuntu as distributed by the Ubuntu project ..

* there is no suggestion (through words or appearance) that your project is approved, sponsored, or affiliated with Ubuntu ..

Mozilla thinks disagrees with EFF's stance (4, Interesting)

trifish (826353) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700705)

Mozilla thinks the same way as Wikimedia and obviously disagrees with EFF.

From the official Mozilla/Firefox Trademark Policy [mozilla.org]

Domain Names

If you want to include all or part of a Mozilla trademark in a domain name, you have to receive written permission from Mozilla. People naturally associate domain names with organizations whose names sound similar. Almost any use of a Mozilla trademark in a domain name is likely to confuse consumers, thus running afoul of the overarching requirement that any use of a Mozilla trademark be non-confusing. If you would like to build a Mozilla, Firefox Internet browser or Thunderbird e-mail client promotional site for your region, we encourage you to join an existing official localization project.

Re:Mozilla thinks disagrees with EFF's stance (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700975)

But the policy you quote states exactly *why* Mozilla is requiring permission for all uses - customer confusion. Which is also the underlying basis for trademark law and actions. Mozilla's policy seems to simply state "Come to us BEFORE you do something potentially stupid, and if what you want to do is OK, we'll give you a piece of paper saying it's OK".

Better name (1)

xbytor (215790) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700707)

A better name might have been 'wikipediasux.org' or something similar. No confusion, then, that it's another Wikipedia site.

no trademark or cybersquatting issue here (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700723)

"Wikipedia should know better. There is no trademark or cybersquatting issue here. First, the site is entirely noncommercial, which puts it beyond the reach of U.S. trademark law"

What ever the legalities at issue her, it is patently obvious that the owners of wikipediaart.org are trying to piggyback on the reputation of Wikipedia. They did seem to have previously host their art site directly on Wikipedia itself. Perhaps the cybersquatting issue is a little retaliation.

Trademark issues seen before (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700741)

Debian has encountered trademark concerns, before: Iceweasel [wikipedia.org] . It's a tale worth reading, if you're interested.

Legalese crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700801)

It's actually fun, if you read the first letter [wikipediaart.org] , the law company is alleging cybersquatting, trademark infrigement and requests the domain to be transferred to them. So it seem to read like your standard C&D letter. But, (and here is where fun starts) if you read it really carefully, they really don't allege anything, and don't demand anything. They know they have no leg to stand on. "You know, we were asked to investigate, and you know, cybersquatting, blahblah, trademarks, blahblah, so if you want you may transfer the domain to us, you know". They acknowledge it themselves in their second letter [wikipediaart.org] . This is why people hate lawyers and the legalese, it looks like it says something else than it really is.

EFF wrong on two counts. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700853)

The EFF has it wrong on two counts:

  1. First, there is no such thing as 'fair use' when it comes to trademarks.
  2. Commercial use is irrelevant to 'fair use' anyhow.

Re:EFF wrong on two counts. (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701331)

1. Wrong.
2. Wrong.

You fail.
Why do clueless people like to feign legal knowledge?

Wikimedia has a fair complaint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700873)

Personally, I think that Wikimedia has a fair complaint here. If I saw an advertisement for a site called Wikipediaart.org, I would naturally assume that it was associated with Wikipedia. It is to avoid this kind of confusion and unwanted association that trademarks must be protected. And, it is important to note, a trademark must be defended whenever it is infringed upon (or assumed to be infringed upon), or the owner of the trademark loses it forever.

I think this is a different case than that of a website like microsoftsucks.com. No reasonable person would assume that such a site is associated with Microsoft.

It is a deceit (1)

julian67 (1022593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700893)

The domain name is only one thing, perhaps the least deceitful aspect. I did actually visit http://wikipediaart.org/ [wikipediaart.org] and then http://wikipediaart.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page [wikipediaart.org] and was very surprised to find it describes and refers to itself as "Wikipedia Art". There is a disclaimer "This web site documents a performance art work that promotes a critical view of Wikipedia. It is not affiliated with Wikipedia in any way." I'm English and reasonably literate and I remain uncertain what that is supposed to mean. Perhaps it isn't supposed to mean anything tangible. Would the authors referring to themselves as "Wikipedia Art" ten times on the same page suggests that their disclaimer is insincere?

Apparently they had an idea for a collaborative work of art, wished it to be part of Wikipedia and created a Wikipedia article to fulfil this wish. Wikipedia, within hours, declined to host their project and removed it. Now the 'artists' feel they are justified in trading on the Wikipedia name and claiming oppression. It looks to me like a group of pompous blowhards having a tantrum.

There is no sign of any artistic endeavour unless hysterical hissy fits can be considered art.

The more important question is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700901)

The more important question is will this threatened legal action using donated money take away money from their eat at fancy restaurants on donated money fund?

Proof by contradiction (1)

What Is Dot (792062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700917)

Perhaps they WANT to lose the case. There are still very few rulings on digital rights. If they can take this to court and all the way without some kind of settlement, then it would draw a clear line on fair use in this situation. Even if this was their goal, it's still a bit self-righteous...

it's pretty clear legally (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27700933)

If people can reasonably expect "wikipediaart.org" to be a site run by the same people as Wikipedia and concerned with art, then it's a trademark violation (it seems to me that it is).

Furthermore, Wikipedia has no choice in the matter: if it could conceivably be a trademark violation, they must get active against it.

There is no fair use provision in trademark law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27700957)

It's a trademark. There is no provision for non-commercial/fair use in trademark law, like there is copyright law.

You have to defend your trademark, otherwise, you lose it,that's how it works. No wonder the /. crowd is so opposed to intellectual property law. It's easy to oppose something when you don't understand how it works.

Re:There is no fair use provision in trademark law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27701005)

Yes there is. You are the one who clearly doesn't understand the law.

Read it and weep [publaw.com] .

Slashdot editor fell for it too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27701051)

wikipediaart is some "action artist" trying to boost his "art" by attaching himself to wikipedia popularity. He was asked to clarify that his site is not affiliated with wikipedia, and to not use wikipedia proper as his "canvas". Noone ever threatend him or tried to forcefully take away the domain:

http://wikipediaart.org/legal/040909-WikimediaResponse.html [wikipediaart.org]

The EFF fell for subsequent BS from said "artist", and so did the Slashdot editor (and most of you, apparently).

Summary is a Red Herring (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701093)

The submitter presents the question as:
"Can a noncommercial website use the trademark of the entity it critiques in its domain name? "

Now let's think of a REALLY EASY past example: verizonsucks.com, etc. Here we had the trademark owner asserting "brand confusion" which was laughable, except for the hoards of lawyers willing to outspend the defendant.

Now let's consider if that scenario applies here... this is a tough one, give me a minute.... NOPE. Not even close. The submitter editorializes and presents a false argument in hopes of a biased discussion.

The true question is:
"Can a noncommercial website use the trademark of ANOTHER noncommercial site in similar and confusing manner?". I expect any court action to answer this question with a "no". Fair use of a trademark will mean you do not use the trademark in a confusing and similar manner. Looks to me that both sites are similar products and given the trademarked name, both are affiliated.

You could have a website called "microsoftreviews.com" and review Windows products (maybe)... but if you ALSO present your product in a similar manner as Microsoft does (ie, rip the CSS from microsoft.com) then it's no longer a gray area, and you're going to lose.

IANAL, but trademark law depends not only on "use", but presentation. The EFF is wasting my money... I'd rather see them pushing for more open government.

 

ZOMG FAIR USE! (2, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701171)

Wikipediasucks.com is nothing one would confuse with Wikipedia.

Wikipediaart.com, however, sounds like an official Wikipedia for art.

Domains can also be trademarks. Them's the breaks. Get over it.

Wikipedia has little choice in the matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27701213)

Wikipediaart is trying to use the name wikipedia as a generic term for a wiki. However it IS trademarked and it gives them an artificial legitimacy by association with the name. Wiki is the actual generic term, if they called themselves wikiart there wouldn't be an issue. A site like wikipediasucks also wouldn't be an issue because it is obvious that it is not claiming legitimacy based on wikipedia's name. Wikipedia HAS to be legally involved or risk the loss of their trademark. This isn't greed or evil, If I made a site called igoogle I would expect to get sued into oblivion, even though googling something has entered the lexicon as a term for searching on the internet google defending their trademark prevents it from becoming a generic term.

"Permit and Proceed" (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27701377)

Trademark needs to be protected by preventing unauthorized use of it.

But there are two ways of
- disallow/litigate
- authorize/license

Wikipedia choose the nasty way.
Linden Labs used the nice way.

http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/31/0216258&from=rss [slashdot.org]

Commerical Interference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27701459)

I like this fair use justification on one of wikipedias [wikipedia.org] fair use justifications:

"The photograph belongs to Russian department of Atomic Energy Minatom. Introducing the picture on our server does not interfere with their ability to develop and market new nuclear devices"

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